Professional Zone

Voices 2019 Judges Share Their Writing Tips!

Posted date: 
06 Feb 19

Voices 2019, Coram Voice’s annual writing competition for children in care and young care leavers closes in 5 days, but there’s still time to submit your entry before 10 February!

Looking for some writing inspiration? We’ve asked some of our fantastic Voices 2019 judges to provide some writing hints and tips that can help you carve out the perfect story. Read on to become a creative writing pro…

What are your best writing tips?

Ric Flo: “Your potential is limitless”

“Don’t just write when you’re inspired…the more you write, the stronger you’re writing muscles will become.” Ric thinks that the best thing to do is to treat writing as an exercise, so why not practise writing three short poems on the same topic, and see what style works for you. Ric believes, ‘your potential is limitless’, so keep flexing your writing muscles and you will be producing amazing pieces in no time.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: “Think about what sort of ‘feel’ you want your story to have”

“Think about where the ‘camera’ is when writing. Are you inside your character’s head? On their shoulder? Watching from above? How does this impact how they see the world, and therefore the story?”  Great storytelling is all about how we see the world through the character’s eyes, so make it clear in your mind what kind of a storyteller you want to be. As Kiran says, ‘think about what sort of ‘feel’ you want your story to have - do you want us dropped into the centre of the action, or do you want to set the scene?

Alice Broadway:  “Write from the heart”

“Writing is meant to be enjoyable - write something you like, not what you think other people want to read. You'll have more fun and the work you produce will show it!” Your voice is the most important one readers want to hear, so make sure you are writing creatively for you and not with other people’s opinions in mind. Alice says, “know that what you have to say matters - your experiences and thoughts are unique to you. Write from the heart.”

Jarvis: “Change up the pace”

“Think about rhythm and pace. Does your story start slow and build pace?” Make sure your story grips readers and keeps them hooked. “If your story feels flat and one paced maybe you could change up the pace.” Read through your story again and see if you think it’s moving at the right speed, or whether it needs to speed up (or slow down!)

Watch Jarvis' tips to help you get started on your entry!

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Ric Flo: “Just be honest”

“Writer's block can often happen when you put pressure onto yourself to be ’the best’”, says Ric. “It’s good to be your best... But I often find its better to just be honest.” Write honestly about how you feel and be confident! Never underestimate your writing skills, you might be surprised what happens when you put pen to paper.  

Jarvis: Don't put pressure on yourself.

 “Inspiration will hit at some point and if you're there to catch it and run with it then you'll be fine.” Don’t panic about not having any ideas, or try force an idea you’re not sure about. The best ideas come to you when you least expect it, so take Jarvis’ advice and “don't put pressure on yourself”.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave: “The key to good writing is re-writing”

“I don’t get ‘writer’s block’ exactly, but I do sometimes let the voices of doubt in my head speak too loud, telling me what I’m writing isn’t good enough.” Don’t doubt your creative ability, and remember that no one gets it right first time. Kiran says that “the key to good writing is re-writing”, so keep trying different things until you find something that works.

Alice Broadway: “Reading inspires your creativity”

“Read! Read things you really like and if you're not sure what you really like, ask a librarian for ideas - I found my favourite author because a librarian helped me out - reading inspires your creativity.” Why not visit your local library and get stuck into a new book? It might ignite your imagination!

You still have time to submit your entry into Voices 2019! Entries close on 10 February, and children in care and care leavers are invited to write up to 500 words on the theme of ‘Growing Up’. By entering into Voices 2019, you could be in with a chance of winning up to £100 in Love2Shop vouchers, books, and the chance to attend our amazing awards ceremony in London. Find out more here: https://coramvoice.org.uk/young-peoples-zone/how-enter-voices-2019